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25 Mar 2020
So You Want to Be an Influencer?

It's an interesting notion...being an influencer.  I never actually considered myself one.  Until I took a good, hard look at what it is I do for a living, or should I say "used to do, before the Virus descended upon us".

My day job is planning events for the young and young at heart.  I put together parties for kids and huge events and crafting tables for corporations like Google, Slack and Intuitive Surgical.  I've found that crafting is a great way to bring people together.  People seem to lose their inhibitions when they are in a creative zone. They begin chatting with the person next to them about their process, ask advice from their mates about color or placement of an item, or just compare ideas and offer compliments.  Often those at the table are new to the materials I am presenting, which brings me to the notion of being an influencer.  I can honestly attest to the fact that every time I do a craft table, be it for kids or adults, I will have at least 1 person who will request information about 1 or more of the products I am using. The greatest thing is that since I work with these materials all the time I can answer pretty much any question they might have.

As an influencer in the virtual world, I find it very important that I take the job seriously.  When "gifted" an item for review I think it's very important that I give my honest opinion about the product.  For me, this translates to actually spending time with the product.  This has happened with wearables (I was sent a nautical knot bracelet and literally wore it for 3 weeks before I gave my review), art supplies (a project which I actually enlisted the help of my entire family to complete), and foodstuffs (possibly the most fun my entire staff has had as they were all included in the unboxing and reviewing of the products).  I feel that it's important to give as honest opinion I can, highlighting not only the best qualities of the product but also mentioning the downsides, if any, as I perceive them.  If someone wants my honest opinion then that's what I will give.  This can be tricky when something doesn't quite measure up to my standards.  Often for me, it comes down to is this product easy, enjoyable, entertaining, useful, or helpful?  Does it serve a necessary purpose (even if that might be just to entertain or fill time)?  Is it well made?  If it needs an explanation for use are there instructions and are those easy to follow?  

I'm amazed by the number of new products that are launched every month.  I know for myself I've seen new items on my supermarket shelf and thought, "hmmm...I wonder if this product is any good".  That's when I want my pocket influencer to jump up and answer the call of duty.  I think having non-biased opinions is very important.  I suppose the most important question to ask yourself if you want to or can be an influencer is this - "am I willing to put in the time to make an educated, honest assessment of any and all products?"  If the answer is "yes", then you should definitely give it a try.  For me, it began when I started doing my own series called "try it, don't buy it" where I reviewed products I was using or had tried to use for my events.  I was contacted by an influencing organization who began to send me suggested items.  I was very picky in my choices, choosing only things I knew intrigued me, items for which I had a real use, or items I thought might benefit my audience.  I didn't think it made sense for me to review tech products, or automotive or sports. However, the experience has proven to be quite interesting and one I hope will continue for years to come. 

Now if I could just get someone to ask me to test out a Tesla...oh wait...that falls into the automotive category...dang.